On the Native Sun in February

On the Native Sun in February

Last month, I noticed some very nice halibut in the Instagram feed of my fishing buddy Ty Gyotoku.  The fact that he was catching halibut this time of year is notable, but not unusual.  There’s a lot of squid around.  Dana Wharf’s Halibut Derby is in full swing.  You have to put in your time targeting them and get a little lucky, but they’re around.  What intrigued me was the fact that I could tell from the pictures that he was pulling these fish off the rocks somewhere.  Beyond that, these weren’t barely legals.  Over one 2 day span, I noted 3 fish that were easily 20lbs+.

I needed to get in on this bounty.  Last year, I felt like I finally figured out this fish.  I understood it’s bite, and I was able to score in 3 distinct areas at different times of the year.  This year, I checked one off the Top 10 list early and I figured it was just the beginning of many more to come for 2013.  WRONG.  I’ve gone on halibut targeted trips, but it just hasn’t worked out.

Which brings us back to Ty.  “Hey man, let me get in on this.  I PROMISE I won’t tell anyone.”  I’ll take you, but you really can’t say anything.  You’ll understand why when I take you there.  So weeks go by and I don’t hear from Ty.  Saturday, he posts a picture of his dad, Norman with another beast ‘but off the rocks.  C’mon dude!  Then I get the call Saturday night, “Going again tomorrow with a couple other buddies if you’re down.”  Tell me where to be and what time.

Prior to me making this plan with Ty, my plan was to do a combo surf/jetty trip.  I rigged my Seeker 196 to throw the perch setup and a Shimano Teramar (10-20)/Curado combo to throw a dropshot on 8lb.  With the change of plans, I left the perch combo home, kept the Teramar/Curado combo, and brought my Shimano Crucial setup to throw the 5 inch MC Swimbaits that Ty had been scoring these fish on.

Sunday morning, I met Ty at his house.  “Uncle” Raul who I had fished with on the Freedom’s last run was already there.  We were joined shortly by Daniel, who’s a freshy pro-staffer for Phenix Rods.  It was a 20 minute ride to the spot.  A couple more of Ty’s buddies, Phil and Isaac, met us there, and we commenced to fishing.  I started the day fishing the MC and picked the red tail/red flake back (3rd from top) one as it was most similar to the one Ty was using.  The weedless setup looked really good swimming, but I didn’t get any love on it.  Neither did anyone else (fishing on 3/8 or 1/2 oz leadheads).  High tide was scheduled to be around 1pm. It was before 10am.  The water wasn’t really moving yet, so we made a short move to a dock area that was supposed to be a bass spot.  Ty worked the tight spots between the slips and by the pilings.  He was the first to score…first with a small spotty, and shortly after with a short halibut.  I chose to fish off the end of the dock with my dropshot setup.  I fished a 2 inch salt and pepper Bass Assassin shad on the drop shot with a 1 oz lead on the bottom.   I casted a fan around my area and eventually found a line where I was getting bites.  Most materialized into lizardfish, but one turned into a solid sand bass.

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Not much else happened, so we moved back to the halibut spot.  Fresh off the success of the dropshot sandy, I decided to throw it here.  The others were rigging swimbaits for the new spot and I was the first in the water.  Throw it out, start to work it back and BAM!  Short 20 inch hali.  Oh yeah, it’s on now.  I managed to get that fish in on 8lb. test, but it scared me.  I didn’t want to risk losing a good one if it ran my line against the rocks, so I took the time to strip off the 8 and load up with 15.  I tied a dropshot rig again, but instead of using the 2in. Bass Assassin, I moved up to a bigger bait and tried some of the Zman scented baits they had recently sent me to review.  First I tried the light purplish ones without any luck.  I decided to switch up and try the Scented Paddlerz in the Pinfish pattern.  That worked.  Connected on a 26 inch keeper!  We stayed longer, but that was it in terms of the action for the day.

I know what you’re going to ask next…where’s the spot?  I can’t tell you.  It’s inside a gated facility with security.  I promised my hosts I wouldn’t broadcast it out and create headaches for them with people trying to sneak in.  What you can take from this post is that the dropshot rig is a good winter time strategy when fish are less active.  If you don’t know how to rig it, search for it on YouTube and you’ll find several videos that will show you how to tie and fish it.  There are lots of public pier/jetty spots that I’m looking forward to trying it on and it can be a good option when targeting halibut if you don’t have live bait.  Use it conjunction with the technique I described in How To Catch Halibut From The Pier and send me a pic when you score.  I’ll post it on the Facebook page.  Thank you Ty for hosting a memorable trip.  Tight lines!


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